After more than a decade spent honing in on the best CMS to offer our clients, we knew it was fate when we started working with Craft CMS. We even compared it to behemoths like WordPress, but we found that by and large, Craft CMS offered everything our designers, developers, content creators, and (most importantly!) clients need to successfully maintain websites.
This article breaks down a few key reasons why Craft CMS is the easiest CMS to learn:
- Craft CMS offers a truly intuitive content editing experience
- It has all the tools and functionality you need—no more, no less
- It integrates with easy-to-use plugins that take the stress off development teams
- Adding, rearranging, and taking away blocks of content lets you build the website pages of your dreams
The Learning Curve: Just how quickly can you learn how to use Craft CMS?
Even for a robust site with a lot of functionality, our client Craft CMS training sessions consistently take about an hour to an hour and a half. At the end of the session, our clients' input has always been the same: they're impressed by the ease of use; they don't feel intimidated by it; they can't wait to dive in. We've even had rave reviews ten minutes in.
Repeat: rave reviews. Ten minutes in. And even though we offer assistance getting acclimated and install robust documentation in all our CMSs, even our most engaged clients rarely have follow-up questions—because Craft CMS is just that easy to learn.
1. Craft CMS offers a truly intuitive content editing experience via the Preview button and more.
One of the first things I always show our clients when I train them on their new CMS is Craft CMS's Preview button, which is located at the top of every content entry. When the button is clicked, the editable content fields for the content entry slide over to the left of your screen while a working version of the page appears on the right. The working version of the page shows every single edit you make in real-time so you can easily see how your changes are coming to life before you save and publish them.
When I show our clients this button, I always explain the ways it streamlines a traditionally clunky content editing process. Instead of making a content change, saving, and refreshing the published page to see what your changes look like ad nauseam, Preview just shows you the effect of your updates right then and there, though they aren't published until you say so. Whether you uploaded an image that's too low-res for the container or you pasted in copy that's too long, Preview lets you address all that in the moment. Time: saved. Content: stronger.
Bonus: Preview has handy buttons at the top of the preview screen that let you check out any page's content on mobile or tablet in addition to desktop. So if you're working on a campaign landing page that you know will be heavy on mobile users, you can make sure everything looks great on mobile in particular.
Check out my video walkthrough below to see the Preview tool in action.
Craft CMS has a ton of other nifty content-friendly features that I like to call out during trainings, such as:
- The ability to collapse modules you don't edit a lot so you're not scrolling and scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling) to find the stuff you do edit a lot
- The ability to save modules as drafts inside of pages. Here's a use-case as an example: you have a summer internship program for college students, but they can only sign up between January and April of each year. You can disable the application form from May to December, which would then be hidden from the Careers page, thereby eliminating the need to ever make the content again. Hooray!
- The ability to edit content on a "global" level. Craft CMS makes it possible to have some modules be designated as "Global", meaning a master version of them lives in the Globals part of your CMS. Any time you make a change to the master version, the change is applied to every place the module lives on the site. A great example is a module that showcases the logos of companies you work with. If one company changes their logo up, it can be a bear to try to remember all the places you've placed that logo on your site. With Globals, it's a one-and-done update.
2. Craft CMS has everything you need: no more, no less.
This reason is short, but that doesn't make it any less profound: everything available for the everyday user in Craft CMS provides an obvious contribution to the utopian society that is your website. Unlike other CMSs that offer a grand buffet of low-impact tools and plugins that you have to sift through, Craft CMS presents the essentials, and those essentials do a lot.
For instance, while the Assets section in Craft CMS serves as an everyday media library housing your images, videos, and documents, you can also dig a little deeper to re-crop an image. You can re-download a copy of an image onto your computer (as a serial deleter of things on my desktop, this is a handy function I use a lot). You can edit the alt text for accessibility. The funnel-down organization of Craft CMS pulls two carts at once: it reduces choice choke when you're in a hurry to get a thing done, and it opens up a world of possibilities. When you're used to a CMS that has an overwhelming array of menu items you don't even need, switching to Craft CMS is practically paradise.
3. Craft CMS integrates with easy-to-use plugins that take the stress off support teams.
Craft CMS's ease-of-learning extends down to plugins, which are code integrations that add an additional feature to your website. The beauty of plugins has long been their ability to make a cumbersome or ambiguous task easier, such as creating forms for your website or setting up redirects.
With other content management systems plugins can be a little Wild Wild West, but Craft CMS's are all clean, efficient, and user-friendly even for folks who don't live and breathe website work. We help our clients get comfortable with redirects that perform the following functions:
- Lock in default or fall-back SEO information so your page's Google search engine results always look great
- Create redirects so all the links from your old site have a home on your new site (and no journey-ending error pages)
- Build simple or complex custom forms that you can plug into any page
- And more.
4. Adding, rearranging, and taking away blocks of content lets you build the pages of your dreams.
And finally, one of my favorite aspects of Craft CMS that makes it easy to learn and use is the fact that most content blocks can be moved up, down, and all around on a page; they can be duplicated; they can be deleted. You can even add new blocks on top of existing ones to save yourself the minor trouble of scooting a new module up to its new home.
Once our clients see us add, delete, and rearrange content blocks in their training sessions, the beauty of Craft CMS's free-flowing page functionality really hits home. Instead of being chained to page templates that won't cater to a spontaneous content addition or make it easy for you to evolve your content, Craft CMS's modular approach works with your existing content for your future content. What a lovely thing.
See a quick walk-through video about content blocks below.